Center for Total Joint Replacement
Joint replacement procedures are done to address persistent pain that is not helped by non-surgical alternatives, such as pain medications. The most common cause of pain is osteoarthritis, which occurs when the cartilage between bones wears away. Cartilage is the white substance at the end of bones that helps the joints move without friction. It reaches peak amounts between the ages of 18 and 20, and does not regenerate. As people age, cartilage wears away, bones rub against each other and joints become stiff and painful.
Arthritis can be accelerated by genetics and by injury to the joint, even if that injury occurred decades earlier. Injury may throw the joint slightly off balance, causing faster degeneration over the years, much as tires wear down more quickly when car wheels are not properly aligned.
About 5 percent of patients seen at PAMF for joint replacement have rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys cartilage.
The most common procedures performed at PAMF's Center for Total Joint Replacement are hip and knee replacements. Collectively, our surgeons perform between 400 and 500 of these surgeries each year, many of them on patients with complicated conditions such as dysplasia, an abnormal development or growth of a joint. We also do shoulder and elbow replacements, and are highly experienced in revision procedures to replace prosthetic (or artificial) joints that have loosened or developed problems. Each of these procedures is described in this section.